Sonny is a lovely senior Bearded Collie with a wonderful owners! Sonny’s owner noticed that he had a funny odor about him one day and found an open wound on the side of his face. Sonny is a very relaxed, happy-go-lucky dog who did not show any signs of pain or discomfort prior to this. This photo was taken after we shaved his face to evaluate the wound:
Deb brought Sonny in to see Dr Stephanie van Monsjou for an exam that day. Dr Stephanie found that Sonny had a fractured tooth which had abscessed! Sonny occasionally chews on bones at home and must have broken his tooth while chewing on a bone in the past few months. Many dog owners are surprised to learn that bones and antlers are too hard for dogs to chew and can cause fractured teeth among other concerns. Follow this link posted by local veterinary dental specialist Dr Hale for more information about the risks of feeding bones to your dog: http://www.toothvet.ca/PDFfiles/no_bones.pdf
The crown of Sonny’s tooth was broken, exposing the central pulp cavity to the environment in his mouth. This led to infection of the tooth which travelled into the root and caused a tooth root abscess. The tooth root abscess then became swollen and burst causing a smelly oozing wound on Sonny’s face. Yuck indeed! Broken teeth are painful for dogs and cats, however the symptoms of dental pain are subtle and often difficult to appreciate. Dogs and cats will still eat even with painful teeth and gums. This is another reason why regular veterinary exams are important to allow us to identify signs of dental disease which could be causing pain for your pet.
When we find a fractured tooth on oral exam, the next recommended step is dental x-rays to evaluate the root of the tooth. Sonny was anesthetized for dental radiographs and a complete oral exam. His dental x-rays showed bone loss surrounding the roots of the fractured and abscessed tooth. Due to the degree of disease present, this tooth was removed and the rest of his teeth were cleaned by ultrasonic scaling and polishing. Sonny healed very well from his dental surgery to remove his abscessed tooth and he now has a healthy, pain free smile!